Could milk from genetically-modified cow be the new cure for diabetes?

In a significant breakthrough in diabetes treatment, researchers in Brazil have found a potential way to produce human insulin which could alleviate insulin scarcity and make it affordable.

The researchers genetically modified a cow to produce human insulin in its milk in an approach to make insulin more accessible and affordable, the New York Post reported.

After marking a revolutionary achievement in the medical field, the study’s lead author and animal sciences professor at the University of Illinois stated: “Mother Nature designed the mammary gland as a factory to make protein really, really efficiently.

“We can take advantage of that system to produce a protein that can help hundreds of millions of people worldwide.”

The study, published in Biotechnology Journal, used genetic engineering techniques to integrate a human DNA segment that produces proinsulin into cows’ embryos.

Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Universidade de São Paulo successfully developed a method that ensures the human precursor to insulin is only active in cows’ mammary tissues.

They discovered that the genetically-modified cow produced milk containing both proinsulin and insulin, a “magical” breakthrough.

Additionally, its mammary glands processed the proinsulin into active insulin on its own, demonstrating the cow’s ability to produce and purify insulin.

“Our goal was to make proinsulin, purify it out to insulin, and go from there. But the cow basically processed it herself. She makes about three to one biologically active insulin to proinsulin,” Wheeler said.

Researchers aim to create a herd of transgenic cows that can outpace current insulin production without the need for high-tech facilities.

According to Wheeler, the goal is to refine the lactation process through re-cloning and optimising the milk, aiming to produce one gram of insulin per liter of milk, which is a remarkable amount.

According to Medical News Today, while cow’s milk adds calcium to the diet, it may not be the best choice for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

However, milk from a genetically-modified cow that produces insulin in its milk might solve the problem.

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